Drug Repositioning in Glioblastoma: A Pathway Perspective

Front Pharmacol. 2018 Mar 16:9:218. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00218. eCollection 2018.


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most malignant primary adult brain tumor. The current standard of care is surgical resection, radiation, and chemotherapy treatment, which extends life in most cases. Unfortunately, tumor recurrence is nearly universal and patients with recurrent glioblastoma typically survive <1 year. Therefore, new therapies and therapeutic combinations need to be developed that can be quickly approved for use in patients. However, in order to gain approval, therapies need to be safe as well as effective. One possible means of attaining rapid approval is repurposing FDA approved compounds for GBM therapy. However, candidate compounds must be able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and therefore a selection process has to be implemented to identify such compounds that can eliminate GBM tumor expansion. We review here psychiatric and non-psychiatric compounds that may be effective in GBM, as well as potential drugs targeting cell death pathways. We also discuss the potential of data-driven computational approaches to identify compounds that induce cell death in GBM cells, enabled by large reference databases such as the Library of Integrated Network Cell Signatures (LINCS). Finally, we argue that identifying pathways dysregulated in GBM in a patient specific manner is essential for effective repurposing in GBM and other gliomas.

Keywords: LINCS; Library of Integrated Network Based Cell Signatures; blood-brain barrier; drug repurposing; glioblastoma.

Publication types

  • Review